‘The Journey’ analyzes the art of consensus

‘The Journey’ analyzes the art of consensus

“The Journey” (2016 production, 2017 release). Cast: Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney, Freddie Highmore, John Hurt, Toby Stephens, Catherine McCormack, Ian Beattie, Barry Ward, Mark Lambert. Director: Nick Hamm. Screenplay: Colin Bateman. Web site. Trailer.

Bridging a gap is often quite a challenge, especially when it involves opposing parties who are philosophically miles apart. How can these adversaries be successfully brought together? And will the efforts aimed at that ultimately bear fruit? Those questions loomed large when warring factions sought to make peace in the wake of one of the world’s longest-running bloody feuds, the subject of the new speculative historical drama, “The Journey.” (more…)

‘Letters from Baghdad’ celebrates the life of a visionary

‘Letters from Baghdad’ celebrates the life of a visionary

“Letters from Baghdad” (2016 production, 2017 release). Cast: Tilda Swinton (voice), Adam Astill, Tom Chadbon, Michelle Eugene, Andrew Havill, Eric Loscheider, Robert Ian Mackenzie, Helen Ryan, Pip Torrens, Rose Leslie (voice). Directors: Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbühl. Web site. Trailer.

Making one’s voice heard amidst a thunderous throng of opposing viewpoints can be difficult, especially in the face of an entrenched consensus and when expressed by someone who possesses qualities that might tempt others to downplay the significance of those divergent opinions. Yet making the effort to get those views heard is important, particularly when the stakes are high. So it was for an incredibly insightful woman seeking to be heard in the geopolitical arena, an area where others often tried to drown her out, an experience outlined in the engaging new documentary “Letters from Baghdad.” (more…)

‘Maudie’ follows impulses, pushes limitations

‘Maudie’ follows impulses, pushes limitations

“Maudie” (2016 production, 2017 release). Cast: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Gabrielle Rose, Zachary Bennett, Kari Matchett, Billy MacLellan. Director: Aisling Walsh. Screenplay: Sherry White. Web site. Trailer.

When life seemingly sidelines us due to various limitations – be they personal, physical, economic or otherwise – we may easily become discouraged, reconciling ourselves to our circumstances. But need we be saddled with such hindering conditions? Can we lead a meaningful existence in spite of those obstacles? Might we be able to successfully draw upon impulses that lead us to believe to the contrary? Such is the experience of a challenged young woman who manages to build a creative and fulfilling life for herself in the thoughtful new biopic, “Maudie.” (more…)

Seeking Higher Consciousness

Seeking Higher Consciousness

Everything is related. When following a desire, we increase and diminish parts of life. Time is a simple example. When we delve into our spiritual practice, we take time away from a previous pursuit. When we see the beauty in nature, we discard other thoughts. (When I write this, I think of nothing else.)

Over time, the beauty grows. The spiritual practice bears flowers and gifts. Our lives begin to resemble the fabric of the inner self, and we know to “read” life by its resonance with our heart.  We are given awareness of the sensation of the inner self in the varying facets and appearances of life. (more…)

‘Beatriz at Dinner’ explores how to make ourselves whole

‘Beatriz at Dinner’ explores how to make ourselves whole

“Beatriz at Dinner” (2017). Cast: Salma Hayek, John Lithgow, Connie Britton, David Warshofsky, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, Chloë Sevigny, John Early, Enrique Castillo. Director: Miguel Arteta. Screenplay: Mike White. Web site. Trailer.

Some say that, fundamentally, we’re all connected, even if we don’t realize it. In an age and in a society in which seemingly inherent division and separation are taken for the norm, we may not be aware of our interrelatedness, perhaps even denying it when others attempt to point it out to us. But, if we’re ever to resolve this misguided sense of disconnectedness, we need to be reminded – perhaps even cajoled – about our innate linkage. Examples of such reminders surface in highly pointed ways in the new, dark, sociopolitical satire, “Beatriz at Dinner.” (more…)

‘Tanna’ meditates on the power of love

‘Tanna’ meditates on the power of love

“Tanna” (2015 production, 2016 release). Cast: Mungau Dain, Marie Wawa, Marceline Rofit, Charlie Kahla, Albi Nagia, Lingai Kowia, Dadwa Mungau, Linette Yowayin, Kapan Cook, Mungau Yokay, Mikum Tainakou. Directors: Martin Butler and Bentley Dean. Screenplay: Martin Butler, John Collee and Bentley Dean. Web site. Trailer. 

Who we love is something we should be able to decide for ourselves, but it hasn’t always been that way, especially in many of the world’s traditions-based cultures. With arranged marriages the norm – relationships frequently driven by considerations having nothing to do with love – those who choose to step outside that custom engage in what’s looked upon as radical or even taboo. But, given the power of love, sometimes even tradition can’t withstand such pressure. What it means to take such a drastic step – and the consequences that come from it – provide the focus of the fact-based, Oscar-nominated romance, “Tanna,” now available on DVD, Blu-ray disk and video on demand. (more…)

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